Thousands of people evacuated their homes along Hawaii’s coastlines overnight but were allowed to return early Sunday after tsunami waves hit the islands with less intensity than predicted.
The highest wave was about 5 feet from peak to trough — about 2 1/2 feet above sea level — on the island of Maui, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. No serious damage was reported.
The waves were triggered by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake off British Columbia, which also resulted in brief tsunami warnings for southeast Alaska and the Pacific Northwest coast. But Hawaii was in the direct line of a surge that proved to be smaller than expected.
“The tsunami arrived about when we expected it should. It was a little smaller than we expected,” Gerald Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Oahu, told reporters.